Algo's have been all the rage in the financial markets now for the best part of three decades. As far back as the Long-Term Capital debacle of the mid-1990's, through to the flash crashes and algo driven 2009 crashes and thence on to "flash boys", it has been all about the algo's.
But in recent years, they have topped out a little - admittedly because in part they are the only show in town. Still, Hedge Fund launches have been tailing off for a few years and this year there is no real change. Perhaps some optimism that a recession will see an uptick, but nothing as yet. The main driver of this has been that a generally rising market has meant the much cheaper buy and hold strategies have paid better than expensive hedge fund algo trading - which is prone ot making racy bets and trying to corner markets against the trend.
So it is not surprising that now Government's are following the lead and using Algo's - in the UK Dominic Cummings is a big fan. if it works for high finance, then surely it is a good idea for Big Government. So when a challenging situation appears like the A-Level results all needing to be modelled out of the blue, here is an Algo solution which has found its problem.
Yet it has not worked out to the Government's advantage, overall the results are likely very fair, but individually there are thousands and thousands of errors. Each error is a person with hotline to social media and the wider world. Each one is aggreived and a victim, all have parents behind them saying little Jenny or Jack worked all the hours god sends, is very clever and deserves at least a place at Oxford and not Salford.
So basically today ends up being an Algo catastrophe, much like in the trading world, where getting 99% of your bets right but shipping all your profits on the 1% higher risk postion that cratered ruined your year. Here most results are likley fair, but the numerous injustices willl be impossible to justify.
Here begin the opportunities and pitfalls of real technocratic governance.